More than 7,200 people were arrested in the month-long Christmas and New Year campaign targeting drink and drug drivers, ACPO lead for Roads Policing, Deputy Chief Constable Suzette Davenport revealed today.
DCC Davenport said “During the crackdown nearly 157,000 people were stopped and tested. Despite clear messages that driving whilst under the influence of drink or drugs isn’t accepted, more than 7,000 drivers ignored the messages and placed their own lives and the lives of fellow road users in jeopardy anyway.
She continued, “The consequences of drink and drug driving are far reaching. It’s not only socially irresponsible but it raises serious issues for those that ignore the risks. Those convicted are likely to face a lengthy driving ban and possible loss of jobs and livelihoods with some even facing imprisonment.”
The campaign ran from 1 December 2011 to 1 January 2012 with officers from 43 forces throughout England and Wales testing drivers at all times of the day and night.
This year forces undertook intelligence led testing. The result was that a larger percentage of the smaller sample of drivers tested, failed the test.
Young drivers continue to have a higher rate of offending at 5.7% compared to over 25s at 4%. This highlights the important role that the police, government, parents and society as a whole have to play to educate the newest generation of drivers. Figures also supported claims that those driving under the influence are more likely to be involved in a collision.
DCC Davenport said, “Again, like previous years, results show that if you drive whilst under the influence, you are at greater risk of being involved in a collision. 7% of people tested after a collision were found to be under the influence compared to 4.1% for routine tests. Once again this shows a clear, demonstrable link between drinking and drug driving and crashing.”
An increased number of field impairment tests were carried out on drivers to see if they were driving under the influence of drugs. The 36% increase in tests shows that forces are taking the issue seriously and are determined to reduce the number of killed and seriously injured on our roads through drug use.
DCC Davenport praised the number of responsible drivers, “Although the purpose of the campaign is to crack down on the number of drivers causing danger on our roads, the vast majority of drivers know that driving whilst under the influence has a devastating effect and refuse to do so.
“I would take this opportunity to remind drivers that there is no safe limit on drinking alcohol. The only way to ensure that you are driving safely, is to not drink alcohol at all. Even just the one drink can significantly impair your judgement and for that reason I recommend drivers don’t drink alcohol and drive.
Finally she said, “Driving under the influence of any substance, whether it is alcohol or drugs is unacceptable. Alcohol and drugs can affect your ability to judge speed and distances, reduce concentration and delay reaction speed. Worst of all it can kill, and that’s a life sentence no-one would want to live with.”